It is all about growth.
The Rev. Ernest L. Gordon has been pastor at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Columbus since June and has plans to see it grow “numerically, physically, spiritually and financially.”
“God is doing some marvelous and exciting things here,” he said.
The church has what Gordon calls a “vision of the house.” There is a vision for church worship, a vision for church leadership, a vision for church growth, a vision for local church development and a vision for church stewardship.
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The pastor sees a lot of development near the church, which is on St. Mary’s Road. New homes and businesses are going up. To Gordon, that translates into a great opportunity for church growth.
He would like to see the church build a life center for youth and senior citizens sometime in the near future.
“There is a need,” he said.
While at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Macon, Ga., he directed the construction of a $2.5 million facility.
Outreach in the community will remain a big part of ministries at St. Paul under Gordon.
To grow as a church, Gordon says St. Paul must be diverse. It must be inviting to a wide variety of people with nobody being turned away.
“We are interested and concerned with all people,” he said. “We want to make sure all persons understand God’s love. Society is diverse and so must be the church.”
That includes people with alternative lifestyles.
“We want to share God’s love with everybody,” he said.
That includes people who have may have found themselves in trouble with the law.
“There are those who may have messed up but still have potential,” he said.
The native of Ocala, Fla., knows this to be true because he was once in a “bad place.”
As a teen, Gordon got involved in drugs and one night found himself in an alley with crack cocaine in his hand and a man with .357 magnum intent on stealing it from him.
He recalled wanting to resist when someone nearby advised him “give him what he wants.”
Through the help of a church elder, Gordon changed his ways.
“The Lord was looking after me,” he said.
Through his own personal growth experience, he realizes how the church can change people and he uses that knowledge in his ministry. He does more than just quote the Bible.
“A person can overcome a bad choice,” he said.
Gordon served 10 years as a U.S. Marine.
He earned degrees from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary in Columbia, S.C.
The married father of two daughters came to Columbus following eight years as senior pastor at Greater Turner Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Macon, Ga.
Gordon has taught history at both Savannah State University and Mercer University. His wife, Dolores, is an educator in the Bibb County School District.
He was assigned here by Bishop Reginald T. Jackson.
Gordon is the author of a book “The Final Straw: A Study in the Gospel Of Mark,” which tells the story of the tension that begins to build between Jesus and the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and how those tensions ultimately emerged into a conspiracy to have Jesus crucified.
Though there was a time when he got away from the church, Gordon was seriously involved with it at an early age. He said at age 5 he was already doing some preaching in church.
“I told my grandmother that God told me to preach and tell people to repent,” he said.
A message Gordon likes to get across to all is that “God has a word for your season.”
“It can be a season of crisis, a season of challenge, a season of success. God has a word for your season,” he said.
He hopes vibrant services will help attract people to the church.
“I am excited about being here,” he said. “The move is energizing. I miss the people I had to leave but look forward to making many new relationships.”